Saturday, 25 March 2017

Business minister moves to take on housing brief

Prime minister David Cameron has appointed a new housing minister after promoting Grant Shapps to a cabinet level role.

Hertford and Stortford MP Mark Prisk will move to the Communities and Local Government department from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Mr Cameron has embarked on his first ministerial reshuffle since the coalition government came to power in May 2010. Cabinet level positions were announced earlier today, including Mr Shapps’ move to become Conservative Party chair and a cabinet minister without portfolio.

Announcements of ministerial posts are being made this afternoon, and Number 10 has confirmed Mr Prisk’s appointment.

The new minister is a chartered surveyor by profession, and his shadow roles before the coalition government came to power included shadow minister for Cornwall. After the election he took on a post in BIS, with a brief to focus on cutting red tape and promoting enterprise.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, welcomed the appointment.

‘The National Housing Federation has long argued for the vital role housing has to play in driving growth and Mark Prisk’s strong economic and business experience will prove invaluable in making that case,’ he said.

‘We look forward to working with him to get homes built and tackle the challenges in the housing market.’

Grainia Long, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said building more homes must be the number one priority for the new minister.

In an article for Inside Housing, she said: ‘We need a minister with an unrelenting focus on building the right homes, in the right places.

‘That will mean building excellent relationships across central and local government to ensure the timely release of land, best use of our planning system, and ensuring sophisticated knowledge of housing and land markets.’

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